Rockin’ the Vote and the Art of Stretching

I apologize to my readers and sponsors for not posting more, but I’ve still been getting into the groove of walking again. That ingrown toenail did a lot of damage, more than the pain, but the downtime. Thanks doc, I know it’s for the best. Over the last three weeks, for various reasons, Stephanie and I have been walking the downtown area, some (most) in places we’ve already walked. It’s mostly a steady, consistent walk, in familiar territory and we had things going on in the area; it was convenient. Plus, no matter how many times we walk this area, there is so much history that we learn something, see something, or find something we didn’t know or know about before.

First rule of walking club, though… stretch!!!! Stretch before you embark, hydrate and rest when you need to. One of those, I got down pat. The other two, not so much. So, drink that water before you leave your house if you don’t want to carry anything with you, or get a Camelbak (available at Omega Sports) or something like it; although that may be a bit

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Historic sign in front of Plant 64

much on a city excursion. And, stretch. Stretch. Stretch! Your muscles aren’t made just get out and go. You have to work them up to that, even a rudimentary thing like walking. Moving about isn’t too strenuous but I learned the hard way this weekend, don’t take it for granted. Let’s talk about the journey this week.

 

We parked on Fourth Street and walked east to Research Parkway. We turned north and walked by the area now known as Plant 64, a former tobacco plant dating back to around 1916, that has been converted into a luxury apartment community and some office spaces. We walked to Fifth Street and stopped. I was already feeling the affects of being slightly dehydrated and not stretching. We turned west and walked Fifth up to Main Street.

On that segment, we passed by the lovely Bailey Park where the Wake-Up Walk happened for Family Services. We missed that one as we got a late start on the morning. We already knew we weren’t going to make the “10k by 10a” goal, but we were going to go for as long as we could. We weren’t lying in bed being lazy cusses and that was the important part. Stephanie, who used to work in Old Salem said she’d like to at least get close to the area to see if the leaves had turned, yet. Incidentally, I do recommend you get by Old Salem in the next week or so as the leave will start really turning by then.

So on Main, we turned south, as that would lead us directly into Old Salem (since that is the main street in which gives the street its name). We passed by the RAI building, the headquarters of Reynolds American, the tobacco company, if for some reason you didn’t know that. We also went by the new Kimpton Cardinal Hotel and Katharine Brasserie that occupies the original RJR Building. A building of much importance to our city and to the country, really. That building was the prototype of the Empire State Building in New York City. But, it is my belief that this town wouldn’t be the booming municipality that it was in the early 20th Century, nor the booming city it has become over the last 10 years without that building, what it stood for and what legacy it left. Without Richard Joshua Reynolds and his company, there’d be very

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Office for the day…

little happening in this city. It could be just any other small town. Next to it is the “box the RJR Building came in,” the old Wachovia building, or the newer Winston Tower, the second tallest building in town.

 

We continued south and passed the new “Wachovia” building, now known as the Wells Fargo building after passing two very miserable places. The Federal Courthouse and the Hall of Justice. Both are courts of law among other things. Both are eyesores of this city and both hold a lot of bad stories, bad people, bad memories and bad incidents within their walls. I know they’re needed but they’re just miserable places and being betwixt them is depressing. Luckily, they were washing the exterior of the Federal building and that gave us something interesting to look at as we passed by them.

We passed down into Old Salem and walked until we got to West Street and well, we turned west. We stopped by the Cobblestone Farmers Market, a delightful collection of farmers, growers, makers and retailers of locally produced wares. There’s something for just about everyone there. After stopping, talking to a few merchants and resting our non-stretched bodies for a few minutes, we went back east on West, through the Old Salem Square, where there was an artistic gathering of local or at least moderately local artisans selling their wares. We turned east on Academy Street and north on Church Street. Going north on Church leads you to God’s Acre, the Moravian graveyard.

Old Salem, itself is something I could write twenty blog posts on. Beautifully restored and curated homes (privately owned), period-authentic costumes, an authentic bakery, a hat shoppe, history, fables, truths, all there in Old Salem. If you’ve not been or haven’t been in a while, you owe it to yourself to pay the entrance fees and do some touring. If you live here in Winston-Salem and haven’t done it, shame on you. It’s fantastic stuff. Stephanie worked in costume there for many years, so I get the cheap tour, but we don’t get to go into the houses and exhibits. We have done that and she tells me about them all the time.

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Sporting our “We Voted Early” stickers.

I’m lucky. You should go do the tours, I’m going to leave it at that.

 

Still slightly suffering from the effects of not stretching, most of it had worn off by then and I felt decent, we stopped at the Vierling House (closed for renovations) for me to prepare the long walk through God’s Acre, by sitting on the bench outside of it. We then passed by many rows of plain white grave markers, some going back to the late 1700s. In past weeks, we visited the city cemetery, home of many of Winston-Salem’s famous founders’, industrialists’ and favorite families’ (Reynolds, Hanes, Babcock, Vogler, etc.) for their eternal resting places. That is just on the other side of God’s Acre and it’s very interesting to visit all of the graves there in both cemeteries. You could make a day out of the city cemetery alone.

We then emerged outside the walls of God’s Acre onto Cemetery Street at the continued Church Street. We continued north along Church until we got to First Street, turning east on First to Chestnut Street past Albert Hall and Victoria Hall, named so because of, you guessed it, tobacco. They were canning locations for Prince Albert tobacco (yes in a can) and some of the premiere biotech companies in the nearby Innovation Quarter. We then unnamedproceeded to the Forsyth County Government Building where Stephanie and I exercised our right to vote. We did wait in line for about an hour and forty five minutes, but it was
worth it. We were sitting around 8000 steps at that time. After finishing up there we continued north on Chestnut until we got back to Fourth, turning east and back to our car.

We drove over to our official “Carb-Loader,” Mary’s Gourmet Diner and after noshing on her lovely wares we walked up to Atelier on Trade (which I believe now wants to be called Atelier Bakery on Trade), our official “Caffeinator,” for a couple of coffee drinks and then over to our “Liquid Reward,” Hoot’s Roller Bar and Beer Company for our just desserts. We ended up walking a little more throughout the day and ended up doing 11,524 steps, equalling 5.74 miles and burning 3349 calories. I’d like to remind you to visit my sponsor, Omega Sports for your walking/running/sporting needs. Again, they carry Camelbak products as well as the Garmin Vivofit3 and Brooks shoes. I’m thankful to them for getting me out and walking.

I want to reiterate the importance of the stretching and hydrating, though. I mentioned it only a few times here, but it was extremely difficult to do the walk and I was cramping, a lot. I have some weird muscles that tighten up on the outside of my legs, slightly above the ankles, and it affects my gait which, in turn, affects my back. I was a sore man at the end of the evening. I didn’t sleep too awfully much either and that is also important, not only for walking but for everyday life. Take care of your bodies folks, eat well, drink lots of water and stretch! Thank you for reading.

Get to steppin’!

West Salem, July 2, 2016

Stephanie and I went downtown to get our day started. The July 4th weekend is always Heavy Rebel Weekender here in WSNC and that takes over Trade and Liberty Streets. So, in order for us to get to Mary’s Gourmet Diner and Atelier on Trade, thus starting our walking day, we had to park a good few blocks away. So, really, our walking day began before brunch. That doesn’t happen very often, but that’s okay with us.

We started on the corner of Fourth Street and Spruce Street. We walked north on Spruce until Sixth Street. We turned east on Sixth and made it to Trade Street. We made our way through the classic cars and Heavy Rebel folks as we walked north on Trade. We made it to Mary’s and had our brunch. We finished and walked south on Trade to get to Atelier on Trade. We had our coffee, looked at the cars on that end of the hoopla and then walked south until Fifth Street where we turned west. We walked Fifth to Cherry and then south to Fourth and turned west. We stopped at the current The Less Desirables studios to grab13557828_10154143684445490_6913325956064767359_n something out of it. We continued west on Fourth back to our car (we call him Nigel, yes we name our cars).

We decided on the West Salem neighborhood while eating at Mary’s. We parked at the Old Salem Visitor Center, slathered ourselves with suntan lotion and head out on our trek. We crossed Marshall Street and went southwest on Walnut Street. We crossed Poplar Street and Broad Street before we hit an incline and northwest until Walnut merged with Washington Avenue and Granville Drive, all becoming Granville.

We continued northwest to Franklin Street where we turned northeast. We came to Green Street which we crossed to get to the campus of Piedmont International University 13557660_10154143745815490_3699088274687714053_n(formerly called Piedmont Bible College) and walked the sidewalk until the water fountain. We had to stop and take in the view of the WSNC skyline along with the fountain. We walked that to Broad and turned north/northwest until we got to Wachovia Street. We turned east/northeast on Wachovia until we crossed Marshall and to where it merged with Brookstown Avenue. Brookstown took us past some of our favorite restaurants, the Winston-Salem Visitor Center (once the Cotton Mill) and the historic Brookstown Inn.

We followed Brookstown until we reached The Strollway. We walked south along The Strollway until we came across the first bench that was available on this segment of the The Strollway. We’re not only doing walking but taking in what the city has to offer. It’s shaded and offers a glance into classic/historic homes behind us and Old Salem to the southeast. Funny enough, we saw a friend of ours, Chris Zona (an avid runner), run past us. That was pretty cool. We continued down The Strollway until we got back to the Old Salem Visitor Center. 13533321_10154143807590490_2055435058900825249_n

We hadn’t hit our 10,000 step goal just yet, so we went up the wheelchair ramp (every step counts) to the Old Salem Heritage Bridge and crossed it. We walked north on South Main Street back to Walnut and took Walnut back across Old Salem Road and to our car. We were about 30 feet from our car when my Vivofit 3 (thank you Omega Sports) alerted me that I had hit my goal. We stood and raised our arms in the air and jumped like Rocky on the steps of the library and high fived and kissed before collapsing back into the car.

We then headed to have our post-walk celebratory adult beverage at Hoots Roller Bar and Beer Company.

2016-07-03 12.19.45It was fitting that we walked West Salem and along and into Old Salem since this is the July 4 Weekend. The very first July 4 celebration in the entire country happened in Old Salem, then called only “Salem,” in 1783. Other cities dispute that, but they’re wrong.

All in all, considering the entire days strolls we walked 11,319 steps. That equals 5.47 miles and I burned 3251 calories. A good day, indeed. It was hot, but West Salem offers a great bit of shade. The shade made for what felt like a 10 degree difference. No way to know for sure, but oh well. There’s a lot of cool older houses and buildings along this route and we will walk it again, in more detail once the video web series kicks in. I’ll keep you informed about when that is happening. I only have two to three more steps to get that rolling.

Thanks for reading and, as usual, get to steppin’!!